Trenching Hazards Lead to a Fine for Colorado Contractor

A Broomfield, Colo. contractor failed to protect employees against trench cave-in hazards, according to OSHA, which initially issued $63,500 in proposed fines. The company contested the citations and the fine was eventually reduced to $25,000. The case was closed in May 2004.

Wycon Construction Co. was cited for alleged willful and serious violations following an OSHA inspection of a trenching worksite in Englewood, Colo., on May 6.

The company was cited for not ensuring employees were protected from cave-ins while connecting a 48-inch pipe in a trench.

Wycon also was cited for failure to ensure that employees who worked in trenches were trained by a competent person, failure to provide a safe means to get out of in a trench more than five feet deep, and failure to protect employees from falling materials.

"Improperly protected trenches can collapse suddenly and with great force," said John Healy, OSHA's Englewood area office director. "This employer was well aware of the hazards involved in the multiple excavations, some of which were up to 20 feet in depth, and of OSHA's trenching and excavations standards."

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